The amount of options available for websites? Overwhelming.

But that’s okay. As I develop this website, I’ll keep you in the loop regarding my decision-making when it comes to big things (how do I build an online store? How do I protect clients? What’s the line between transparency and too-much-information) and the little things (does this color make my website look stupid?).

For today’s quest, you guessed it — I’m researching eCommerce. And if you’re still reading (kudos) a part of you is probably wondering how that works, too.

Building a shop into your WordPress site can help you generate revenue, but the initial setup can be overwhelming.

That’s why, dear reader, I’m going to bring you into the process.

My first instinct in tackling eCommerce was to explore the WordPress plugins page a bit. Mistake. There are a LOT of options.

So, like a sane person, I backed up and asked Google instead. Here’s a quick and dirty version of what I found.

On wpbeginner, they analyze a variety of options for eCommerce plugins for WordPress. To see their full breakdown, check out the article. My big takeaway was their conclusion at the bottom:

“If you want maximum control, flexibility, and features, then WooCommerce is the best solution for you.

If you are just selling digital goods, then you should check out Easy Digital Downloads.

If you want a quick setup and ease of use, then Shopify is the best eCommerce solution for you.”

Since I’m hoping to sell physical products, that pretty quickly rules out Easy Digital Downloads. And, since the article highlights how Shopify has a monthly platform fee, that pretty quickly knocks out that option. Theoretically, that leaves only WooCommerce.

But who makes a decision this big without reading more than one Top 5 list?

Sometimes, I might be that girl. But not today. So onto the next listicle.

The next site I checked out was WinningWP, which is dedicated to helping people, well… win at WordPress. They had a similar breakdown to wpbeginners, only with a whopping SIX options (way to outdo yourselves). What I did appreciate was the quick acknowledgement of price in each of their summaries… which helped me come to the quick realization that every platform except WooCommerce was going to charge me to do what I wanted to do. Wonderful.

This is probably a good place as any to give you a disclaimer. As of today, I’m not receiving any sort of incentive for writing this piece. I’m not on WooCommerce’s payroll. I mean, that would be sweet, but I’m not. This is gen-u-ine research that just happens to be leading me to a (SEO driven, probably) conclusion.

However, in the interest of avoiding becoming the make-a-decision-after-two-listicles kind of girl, I decide to check one more source. Even if I am already being wooed a bit by WooCommerce.

Enter into the process Catalin Zorzini.

First off, the dude has an awesome name. Secondly, his breakdown of FREE eCommerce plugins for WordPress was hands down the most helpful one I found.

The funny part? I only found his piece after I switched to Yahoo’s search engine. (Let’s all chew on that, shall we?)

Zorzini’s analysis of free options, found here, does a really good job at looking at why one platform might work for selling physical pieces, while another works for free downloads, while ANOTHER might be ideal for organizations/individuals who are interested in accepting donations on a one-time or recurring basis. Oh, and if having a simple, clear-cut dashboard with analytics is a part of your decision? He includes that too.

Bingo.

If FREE is your keyword, check out Zorzini’s article.

While reading this DID affirm my belief that WooCommerce is probably going to be the way to go, Zorzini’s piece (can you tell I just enjoy typing that name?) showed me other options that I may consider in the future, whether they be on my website or others that I work with.

So, reader, there you have it. Once I get some testing done, there will be evidence that this research was worth it in the shape of an online store… and if random problems come up, I’ll show you how I handled them! Have questions about my process? Drop a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond.

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